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Lola Cars is being revived


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#1 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 14:25

Lola Cars rescued: new buyer pledges to restore it as leading force in racing
https://www.motorspo...force-in-racing
(24th June 2022)
 


“Our plan is to re-establish Lola as a leading design and engineering force in modern motor sport,” [Till Bechtolsheimer] said. “I have built a career investing in energy efficiency and see motorsport playing a significant role in the innovation and testing of new solutions. Through Lola, we hope to develop and provide investment for some of these solutions.

“I have a huge amount of respect for the industry and understand that this will be a long process. We have immediate plans for substantial upgrades to the Lola Technical Centre, in particular the wind tunnel, and are actively working towards our first project to put new Lolas back on track.

“I firmly believe that our biggest asset is the Lola name and what it means to so many in the motorsport industry. It will help us to attract great talent and form lasting partnerships.”

Till-Bechtolsheimer-with-Lola-LMP1-car.j


Edited by Ben1445, 24 June 2022 - 14:30.


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#2 Risil

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 14:27

our biggest asset is the Lola name

 

Talk about leading with your strengths!



#3 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 14:35

The buyer, Till Bechtolsheimer, has been racing in IMSA's GTD category for the last few years and Blaincpain GT World Challenge America before that. 

 

https://www.imsa.com...bechtolsheimer/

https://www.driverdb...bechtolsheimer/


Edited by Ben1445, 24 June 2022 - 14:35.


#4 BerniesDad

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 14:39

Now I'm not dumb, but I can't understand, why...



#5 Dolph

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 14:41

And why not?

#6 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 14:45

Honestly, reading the piece from Motorsport Magazine, it all sounds much more like a real-deal revival of a defunct racing name than we've been used to in recent years. 



#7 ARTGP

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 14:49

Would they be allowed to be an LMP2 constructor?  


Edited by ARTGP, 24 June 2022 - 14:50.


#8 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 14:53

"Conversations have already begun on potential arenas and projects for Lola to commit to, including in IMSA – although Bechtolsheimer refused to be drawn further on details." 

 

(from the article in the OP) 



#9 highdownforce

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:12

Would they be allowed to be an LMP2 constructor?  

 

Only in a future tender...



#10 FLB

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:15

Would they be allowed to be an LMP2 constructor?  

Very unlikely. It's heading towards the same four players.

 

 

LMP3 could be more open to then, however.



#11 BRG

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:20

There's lots of opportunities for Lola - F3, F5000. F3000, CART, Formula Ford etc.  Isn't there?



#12 FLB

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:22

There's lots of opportunities for Lola - F3, F5000. F3000, CART, Formula Ford etc.  Isn't there?

In historics...?  :lol:

 

 

But yes, building 'continuation' cars could be a business model. One they've visited in the past, in fact.



#13 Fastcake

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:22

I don’t see why. Lola is gone, and though a distinguished constructor in motorsport in its own right, it was hardly a Lotus, a name that still drew attention decades after the team collapsed.

It’s a new company now, start your own identity.

#14 highdownforce

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:23

One can always be a supplier for an OEM's project...



#15 Collombin

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:23

And why not?


Whoosh.

#16 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:46

I don’t see why. Lola is gone, and though a distinguished constructor in motorsport in its own right, it was hardly a Lotus, a name that still drew attention decades after the team collapsed.

It’s a new company now, start your own identity.

 

I think the bit that's making me think this is different from the rather debatable re-uses of other racing brand names is this: 

 

"Till Bechtolsheimer, a businessman, part-time racing driver and enthusiast, has purchased the still-functioning Technical Centre in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, all the designs and IP of every Lola model since its founding in 1958 and full rights to the Lola name" 

 

The only real difference can see between a pretty standard change in ownership and extensive restructuring is a 10 year hiatus in which nothing really happened?


Edited by Ben1445, 24 June 2022 - 15:46.


#17 RA2

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:48

They should start by rebuilding the T70



#18 H0R

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 15:56

Bring on the Mastercard sponsorship!  :clap:



#19 Izzyeviel

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 16:01

I don’t see why. Lola is gone, and though a distinguished constructor in motorsport in its own right, it was hardly a Lotus, a name that still drew attention decades after the team collapsed.

It’s a new company now, start your own identity.

 Brand name and history. Its easier and cheaper this way.



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#20 ARTGP

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 16:03

Only in a future tender...

 

At this point, I'm not quite sure I understand why the LMP2 formula only permits 4 constructors. This really killed off the HPD, SMP, Zytek (errm...I mean...Reynard) platforms.  Oreca was always pretty darn mediocre as a chassis manufacturer until they happenstanced there way into this LMP2 tender formula. LMP2 is not supposed to be a development competition, I get it, but why freeze out other manufacturers able to build a car and sell it at the cost cap. 


Edited by ARTGP, 24 June 2022 - 16:04.


#21 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 16:06

I think the bit that's making me think this is different from the rather debatable re-uses of other racing brand names is this: 
 
"Till Bechtolsheimer, a businessman, part-time racing driver and enthusiast, has purchased the still-functioning Technical Centre in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, all the designs and IP of every Lola model since its founding in 1958 and full rights to the Lola name" 
 
The only real difference can see between a pretty standard change in ownership and extensive restructuring is a 10 year hiatus in which nothing really happened?

Further to this in the same article: 
 
"The first priority is to upgrade the wind tunnel, which has remained as a functioning business since 2012 under the company name of Wind Tunnel Developments. Long-time Lola employee Chris Saunders, who has maintained the business, remains on board and Bechtolsheimer has already made other hirings, mostly on a consultancy basis so far, to kickstart the revival." 

 

That might be the essential thread (or one of them?) which helps genuinely tie this revival push to the original Lola Cars.



#22 LolaB0860

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 16:12

Would they be allowed to be an LMP2 constructor?  

 

Lola was the single biggest LMP1 / LMP2 constructor of the late 00's / early 10's, before Oreca really got going from the ashes of dying Courage and Onroak from the ashes of dying Pescarolo, but the prototype landscape is not what is was then anymore. It is ruined by cartels and politics now, and for that reason I hope they go for something better (even if ACO 'let them in' to their secret society), they deserve better. Maybe single seaters.

 

It's nice of the name being revived, but I don't have high hopes. Saleen similarly resurrected itself and even made it as far as creating own spec series of their own in NA, but then they disappeared again. I guess they are still around though? I don't know


Edited by LolaB0860, 24 June 2022 - 16:18.


#23 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 16:16

The Race has some more details here
https://the-race.com...ssibly-le-mans/
 

Former Red Bull Racing, Williams and McLaren aerodynamicist, Chris Saunders, will be working on the Lola tunnel, which he was part of the founding team of when it was commissioned in 1998.

Additionally, a new tech team is already starting to form with ex-HWA and AER chief technical officer, Michael Wilson, having joined the company earlier this year.


Edited by Ben1445, 24 June 2022 - 16:16.


#24 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 16:25

The credentials and approach of Bechtolsheimer himself are interesting. 
 
He founded Arosa Capital, an investment firm in New York and "specialises in energy, energy efficiency and renewables, including emerging technologies in the transport and automotive space"
 
He cites Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) as an example of the kind of wider engineering spin-off business he thinks Lola could be well suited to.
 
He also says, "My intention is not to run Lola, it’s to try and create a platform for industry people to come in. I want to put it into the hands of the right people who actually know what they are doing, to allow them to make strides."
 
He's also been active in IMSA GTD as a driver as well as in historic racing events such as Monaco Historic and Silverstone Classic.

 

I dare say, if anyone is going to able to pull off this revival project... I'm not sure you could find anyone much more ideal than that. 



#25 loki

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 17:31

With Lola things aren’t always as they seem…

 



#26 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 19:14



#27 Fastcake

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 20:30

I think the bit that's making me think this is different from the rather debatable re-uses of other racing brand names is this: 

 

"Till Bechtolsheimer, a businessman, part-time racing driver and enthusiast, has purchased the still-functioning Technical Centre in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, all the designs and IP of every Lola model since its founding in 1958 and full rights to the Lola name" 

 

The only real difference can see between a pretty standard change in ownership and extensive restructuring is a 10 year hiatus in which nothing really happened?

 

Well that's a reasonable connection I shall concede. It is still essentially a new operation, as once (or perhaps if) they start building cars the team will have to be set up from scratch.

 

 Brand name and history. Its easier and cheaper this way.

Obviously, I just doubt there is much value in Lola...



#28 Dolph

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 21:34

The Lola brand name for sure is valuable. Its instantly recognizable in the racing circles.

#29 Ben1445

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 21:58

“I’ve been amazed at the doors that have opened to me because of the Lola name,” [Bechtolsheimer] says. “There’s a warm reception I’m getting from so many people in the industry, from top brass who at some point did a stint at Lola and have fond memories. It has an endearing quality to it, even from potential future competitors who have been eager to help and point me in the right direction.

“There’s a unique aspect to the Lola brand that is not lost on me. If you build a Lola car people are interested – it’s got real pedigree because it’s a Lola. But it works just as well in partnership with an automotive brand, and it’s done that throughout its history.”



#30 jonpollak

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Posted 24 June 2022 - 22:03

"Conversations have already begun on potential arenas and projects for Lola to commit to, including in IMSA – although Bechtolsheimer refused to be drawn further on details."


(from the article in the OP)


He is now….
INDYCAR !!!!!
https://racer.com/20...a-back-to-indy/

#31 Cornholio

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 00:25

This news definitely got my attention initially. But while in the past my question would have been "can the new owner actually make it work?" Now it's more like... it doesn't matter either way. All single seaters outside of F1 are spec, the top sportscar category is reserved for road car manufacturers (by regulation), and the secondary sportscar category is reserved for a cartel of four. So it'll either be a heritage maintenance operation or as a silent partner to an "OEM", neither of which I find particularly exciting, to be honest 


Edited by Cornholio, 25 June 2022 - 00:25.


#32 RA2

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 01:27

They could also consider doing a LMDH car and compete as a manufacturer.


Shoe horning the V12 Cosworth GM on to the back of the Audi leftover multimatic operation woiluld be the start.
The second would be bring the T70 styling to the LMDH car.

And the new boss has his own car to compete at the 24h lemans

Edited by RA2, 25 June 2022 - 01:42.


#33 YamahaV10

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 05:31

It would be cool to see an end to the Dallara monopoly. They make all the F2 cars and Indycars. 

 

I am not sure what kind of business this guy is in but its tough out there. Hope he's got lots of extra cash.  



#34 Ben1445

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 06:12

A couple of key quotes from the Racer article talk about the plans and how they're quite foundational and long term in nature (bold added):
 

“Whether the first major project be in sports cars or in single seaters, whether that be as lofty as IndyCar or Le Mans, or whether it’s something at a lower level, it’s about rebuilding a company around Lola’s capabilities. That’s the primary goal. We need to be careful not to get engrossed in vanity project. I love Le Mans. I’d love Lola to go back to Le Mans, yes, those are all true. But my main goal is building out infrastructure, getting Lola back on track, making sure that that we’re chasing the right opportunities rather than starting off by chasing the spotlight. I need to bring Lola back as a capable engineering and designing house in the world of modern motorsport.”

 
In term of what programs they could realistically go for, after rebuilding the company's infrastructure and engineering teams:  
 

Bechtolscheimer sees a reconstituted Lola, working from its base in England, as a perfect option for global and domestic series to look beyond the new establishment and consider the firm for its next line of race cars.

“I think that’s exactly right, and when I think about it in simple terms, Lola was really one of one of the most prolific racecar constructors for more than half a century,” he said. “Lola was always involved in the lower categories and it was the bread and butter of the business. And right now if I’m honest, the opportunity for Lola to provide a full solution to a single-make series and allow us to staff up around an opportunity to do a higher number of chassis for a spec formula is just as exciting to me as doing a big and attention-grabbing project.”

 

Sounds like the initial race car plan may be to target getting the company ready to offer replacements to ageing F4 and F3 chassis from the likes of Tatuus, Dome, Ligier and Mygale. Some of these chassis are getting into replacement territory now, whilst I also can't remember the last time I head something positive said about the quite extensively used Tatuus F3 car. A solid foothold in that market could be a good start,  and very aligned with Lola history. 

 

From there, I guess larger targets like a Le Mans Prototype or replacement chassis for F2, IndyCar, IndyLights a few years down the line may be on the cards. 


Edited by Ben1445, 25 June 2022 - 06:14.


#35 BarryinIN

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 06:26

Possibly another IndyCar chassis? Teams having an actual choice in chassis might get me watching regularly again. Watching a parade of the same car in different colors is boring enough, but a parade of those ugly Dallaras is more than I can take.

#36 Ben1445

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 06:37

IndyCar extended their partnership with Dallara through most of the decade, including a new chassis to be introduced at... some point? it keeps slipping and I've lost track. 

 

Whether IndyCar ever wanted to go back to offering multiple chassis options simultaneously is up to them, but it certainly doesn't seem to be on their near-term radar.

 

If Lola were to be able to return to IndyCar, I think that would probably end up being a good decade or so away at this point.   


Edited by Ben1445, 25 June 2022 - 06:38.


#37 Ben1445

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 06:54

I would also note that the only people building production runs of all-electric single seaters at the moment are FE's Spark Racing Technology (where I think the chassis is still subcontracted to Dallara?) and a small team in Belgium who converted a conventional Dome F4 car. 

 

Given Bechtolsheimer's background in energy efficiency and renewables investment, alongside his admiration for innovative applied engineering spin-offs of motorsport engineering firms like WAE, that's a space I would expect might be ripe for exploitation to get the jump on some of the competition. 



#38 absinthedude

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 07:15

 

 

I dare say, if anyone is going to able to pull off this revival project... I'm not sure you could find anyone much more ideal than that. 

 

It certainly seems like he gives a damn, and he's involving the last part of the Lola business to still be in existence. 



#39 statman

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 07:33

8066331251_e44ff8a427_b.jpg

 

http://www.lolaherit...-30/t90-30.html



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#40 Ben1445

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 07:40

New Lola Cars Website up and running 
 
Screenshot-2022-06-25-at-08-18-52.png
 
Seems like three main business areas: 
 
Lola Technical Centre 
Offering commercial use of the Huntingdon facility where the 50% scale, rolling road wind tunnel is being upgraded to modern standards. Apparently they also still have the model-making shop to support the wind tunnel and the seven-post-rig for race car dynamics testing. Autoclaves and other manufacturing equipment was sold off, however. But those remaining assets form a surprisingly solid foundation already.
 
Lola Performance Technologies 
Seems to be the main engineering core, seemingly modelled on the motorsport companies which have been able to reach out beyond the sport: "Lola is committed to pushing innovation in engineering and as part of this commitment, we intend to release our IP back into the ecosystems and develop products that have far reaching impacts beyond motorsports."
 
Lola Heritage

Unclear if they actually have plans to do anything with this side yet beyond just highlighting their heritage, but since the full IP catalogue of Lola designs is under ownership I wouldn't rule them out from supporting historic racers still out in the word. 


Edited by Ben1445, 25 June 2022 - 07:42.


#41 pdac

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 09:40

The Lola brand name for sure is valuable. Its instantly recognizable in the racing circles.

 

True. But if Red Bull had just used a defunct brand name, we'd never have the Red Bull name. I'm fine with people taking over an iconic brand that is failing and bringing it back to life, but isn't it better to have new ones appearing than trying to revive defunct ones (which never seems to work, anyway)?



#42 TennisUK

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 09:46

At this point, I'm not quite sure I understand why the LMP2 formula only permits 4 constructors. This really killed off the HPD, SMP, Zytek (errm...I mean...Reynard) platforms. Oreca was always pretty darn mediocre as a chassis manufacturer until they happenstanced there way into this LMP2 tender formula. LMP2 is not supposed to be a development competition, I get it, but why freeze out other manufacturers able to build a car and sell it at the cost cap.

to be fair, ORECA took a giant leap in performance in the year or two the limited chassis constructor rule came in. And we’re still selling the car to customers at a reasonable cost, unlike vanity projects like SMP or pseudo manufacturer ones like HPD.

I do miss the weird entries like Dome, though. Not sure of a route into prototype racing for that sort of manufacturer these days, which isn’t good.

#43 TennisUK

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 09:47

New Lola Cars Website up and running

Screenshot-2022-06-25-at-08-18-52.png

Seems like three main business areas:

Lola Technical Centre
Offering commercial use of the Huntingdon facility where the 50% scale, rolling road wind tunnel is being upgraded to modern standards. Apparently they also still have the model-making shop to support the wind tunnel and the seven-post-rig for race car dynamics testing. Autoclaves and other manufacturing equipment was sold off, however. But those remaining assets form a surprisingly solid foundation already.

Lola Performance Technologies
Seems to be the main engineering core, seemingly modelled on the motorsport companies which have been able to reach out beyond the sport: "Lola is committed to pushing innovation in engineering and as part of this commitment, we intend to release our IP back into the ecosystems and develop products that have far reaching impacts beyond motorsports."

Lola Heritage
Unclear if they actually have plans to do anything with this side yet beyond just highlighting their heritage, but since the full IP catalogue of Lola designs is under ownership I wouldn't rule them out from supporting historic racers still out in the word.


A T70 road car (perhaps electrified!) would be fairly cool ;)

#44 Dolph

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 09:59

True. But if Red Bull had just used a defunct brand name, we'd never have the Red Bull name. I'm fine with people taking over an iconic brand that is failing and bringing it back to life, but isn't it better to have new ones appearing than trying to revive defunct ones (which never seems to work, anyway)?

These are two completely different scenarios. Why would Red Bull not use their own name to promote themselves? Whats this got to do with Lola?

And on the opposite, why wouldnt a startup company take over a brand name with heritage to promote their new company.

Edited by Dolph, 25 June 2022 - 10:44.


#45 Ben1445

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 10:13

True. But if Red Bull had just used a defunct brand name, we'd never have the Red Bull name. I'm fine with people taking over an iconic brand that is failing and bringing it back to life, but isn't it better to have new ones appearing than trying to revive defunct ones (which never seems to work, anyway)?

I normally agree with this sentiment, especially when it comes to the recent trend for retro tribute liveries of late.

However, what I do like about this is that, when Lola Cars International ceased trading in 2012, Wind Tunnel Developments Ltd was formed at the Huntingdon site and has since continually employed former Lola staff who commissioned and ran the tunnel from 1998. That business is the backbone around which this revival of the dormant Lola brand is formed - a genuine continuation of the old Lola operation, albeit slimmed down.

This isn't the same as buying up a defunct name and applying it to a brand new operation somewhere with zero connection to the original - that kind of thing is a cheap way to skip the brand building exercise for a new business.

We don't see this kind of thing often. It's a pretty unique case, in my view.

(Also, Red Bull applied a well known drinks brand and extreme sports sponsor to an existing racing team, rather than building a new racing operation or racing brand from the ground up. It’s a very different situation.)

Edited by Ben1445, 25 June 2022 - 10:27.


#46 pdac

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 10:37

I normally agree with this sentiment, especially when it comes to the recent trend for retro tribute liveries of late.

However, what I do like about this is that, when Lola Cars International ceased trading in 2012, Wind Tunnel Developments Ltd was formed at the Huntingdon site and has since continually employed former Lola staff who commissioned and ran the tunnel from 1998. That business is the backbone around which this revival of the dormant Lola brand is formed - a genuine continuation of the old Lola operation, albeit slimmed down.

This isn't the same as buying up a defunct name and applying it to a brand new operation somewhere with zero connection to the original - that kind of thing is a cheap way to skip the brand building exercise for a new business.

We don't see this kind of thing often. It's a pretty unique case, in my view.

(Also, Red Bull applied a well known drinks brand and extreme sports sponsor to an existing racing team, rather than building a new racing operation or racing brand from the ground up. It’s a very different situation.)

 

I can't argue with all of this. However, I still feel that once a brand has gone, it's gone. I can think of many attempts in the past to revive iconic brand names (not just in motorsport). I can't think of one that has succeeded. People have fond memories of these names. These revivals never live up to those memories.



#47 Dolph

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 10:45

Bugatti.

#48 Beri

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 11:34

How much I would love to see Lola again in any form of top tier motorsports, when an interview is done and every paragraph starts with "I", then I am suffering from spontanaous eczema.



#49 10kDA

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 14:53

I hope he's able to pull it off. Too bad things have changed so much over the years, to the point that a race car manufacturer's participation is regulated by organizers, series sanctioning bodies etc to the point that the pay-to-play aspects have become accepted as the norm instead of being able to read various technical rulebooks and deciding whether or not to build cars to suit.



#50 TennisUK

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Posted 25 June 2022 - 15:00

I normally agree with this sentiment, especially when it comes to the recent trend for retro tribute liveries of late.

However, what I do like about this is that, when Lola Cars International ceased trading in 2012, Wind Tunnel Developments Ltd was formed at the Huntingdon site and has since continually employed former Lola staff who commissioned and ran the tunnel from 1998. That business is the backbone around which this revival of the dormant Lola brand is formed - a genuine continuation of the old Lola operation, albeit slimmed down.

This isn't the same as buying up a defunct name and applying it to a brand new operation somewhere with zero connection to the original - that kind of thing is a cheap way to skip the brand building exercise for a new business.

We don't see this kind of thing often. It's a pretty unique case, in my view.

(Also, Red Bull applied a well known drinks brand and extreme sports sponsor to an existing racing team, rather than building a new racing operation or racing brand from the ground up. It’s a very different situation.)


That is cool. I had thought Multimatic had bought more or less the whole thing aside from trademarks…